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McCain Calls Obama "Flip-Flopper" on Public Financing

(CBS)

From CBS News' Andante Higgins:


John McCain says he's "entertained" by Barack Obama's latest comments about accepting public money to finance the general election. He called on Obama to keep his word and not to "flip-flop."

"You know, I'm entertained by it because he didn't talk about those kinds of discussions when he committed in writing to taking public financing in the general election if I would. I committed to it," McCain said. "But the fact is he's saying one thing and he's doing another. I mean, that's indisputable."

The argument began back in January when McCain accused Obama of backing out of a commitment to accept public financing in the general election. Today in Indiana, Obama said he would talk with McCain about the issue, but McCain wasn't having it. "He didn't talk about having discussions about third parties and all that when he committed to saying that he would take public financing if the Republican nominee did," McCain responded. "He's always talking in his speeches about how we need to keep our word to the American people. Please keep your word to the American people on the commitment you made in writing."

McCain said he hasn't changed his position to take public funds, but says he will have to reevaluate if Obama doesn't take public funds. "Let's suppose that tomorrow, Senator Obama says, 'No, I'm not going to take public financing,'" McCain said. "Then I think it would be July or August before we would make a decision as to whether to or not. There is no reason, you know, not to wait and assess the situation at that time," he said

Obama contends that the campaign finance system needs to be reformed, and that his success in fundraising over the internet parallels a public finance system. McCain's camp has called this "clever language" to avoid keeping his word. "As the author of legislation on campaign finance reform, obviously I think we need further reform," McCain said. "I have a record on reform, Senator Obama has rhetoric on reform."